One-Year Wonder: 1958 Chevrolet Bel Air Project

After a successful run of cars from 1955-57, Chevrolet redesigned their automobiles from head-to-toe for 1958. They would be bigger, longer, wider, and heavier than any of the passenger cars before them. They would also be a one-year only design. Once GM brass saw what Chrysler had done with their somewhat radical “Forward Look” cars for 1957, they rushed the bat-wing era of the Chevrolets (1959-60) into production. The Bel Air was no longer the top-line series in 1958 as Chevy had rolled out the Impala, but that was only a 2-door car for that year. This 1958 Bel Air Sedan Coupe is said to be a rusty barn find from Virginia that will need considerable work. It’s located now in Millbury, Massachusetts, and available here on craigslist for $5,200. Thanks, Dave Frick, for the tip!

For 1958, Chevy dropped the 150/210 designations for its lower-level series and introduced the Del Ray in their place. Except for a snazzy hardtop, the Bel Air carried the rest of the load. Overall Chevy sales were down 20 percent that year as the industry was in a slump due to an economic recession. We don’t find any sales breakout by series, but instead by body type. At nearly a half-million cars, the 4-door sedans led the way, but 250,000 2-door sedans would also be sold. Somewhere in that latter number lies this 1958 Bel Air.

We’re given little information about this car other than it “just came in.” That suggests a dealer or flipper brought the car from Virginia to New England. Only three photos are provided – and while we’re told the floor and trunk are bad – not much else is said. We don’t know what engine, if there is one, can be found under the hood as the seller says he hasn’t had time to open the hood.  Really? A 235 cubic inch inline-six would be likely, and we can see three pedals under the dash, so it must be a three-speed manual. Another example of where effort and price don’t always line up.

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Comments

  1. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry Member

    It would be nice to have more information, but for what we do see this car has some credibility. Standard transmission, bench seat and most glass and nobody took an axe to the trunk lid after losing the keys. It appears to have original wheel covers and the tail light lenses are not broken. An enthusiastic and skilled worker could have plenty of fun putting this jewel back on the road.
    God bless America

    Like 11
  2. CCFisher

    @Russ – a few details in the writeup are incorrect. Chevrolet had three series in 1958: Del Ray, Biscayne, and Bel Air. The Impalas (hardtop and convertible) were part of the Bel Air series, so Bel Air was technically still top-of-the-line in 1958.

    There is no evidence that there was ever a “V” emblem on the hood or trunk lid, so this one is most likely a 6-cylinder version.

    Like 8
    • Al

      you are right impala was a option on the bel aire in 58 i had a impala 2dr ht 348 3 speed great car

      Like 2
  3. Rex

    58 Chevys were always the homely child in the days of my youth…loved the in-between kids..the 57 and the favorite son, the 59!….never understood what GM was thinking with the 58 Chevy.

    Like 4
    • Robert White

      Toad liked it.

      Bob

      Like 17
  4. Queequeg

    Debbie liked it too, especially when peeling out.

    Like 9
  5. Steve RM

    “I haven’t had the hood open.” Then how can you price it? Come on.

    Like 8
  6. Bill Hall

    If someone was interested in restoring their 58 Chev I know a good parts car in Oregon. This was a Bel Air Four Door hardtop that was T Boned badly on the right side. When I last saw it was covered with blackberry bushes, (Very common in Western or.) I don’t the owner but know some people who do.

    Like 1
    • Tort Member

      4 door hardtop? Many 57 4dr. hardtops but do not recall seeing a 58.

      Like 1
  7. PatrickM

    Russ, you are spot on with the pics and pricing. Whew. I hope someone can rescue this Suzy. But, I wouldn’t give up half that price. $1,500.00 tops and split the cost of hauling it out of there. Also, let me ask if the current owner even thought to air up the tires. Not enough pics for sure. I wouldn’t mind owning one of these if it were in a WHOLE lot better condition.

    Like 3
  8. Al

    love 58s had a impala 2dr ht 348 3 speed stick in high school would eat 352 fords for lunch

    Like 2
  9. HC

    Thats pretty sorry when you say you havent had time to open the hood. Yet you can take a few bad pics and put a price like that on it.

    Like 5
  10. Bill

    Rat rod!!!!

    Like 1
  11. Allan

    I bought a ’58 Biscayne 2 years ago that had been sitting in a shed for 35 years. I’m the third owner now. 6 cyl/2spd Powerglide, power steering, power brakes, interior like a Bel Air. Someone must have made a special order. The original 2 tone paint took 40 hours of wet sanding and polishing. Everything was left as stock except the front brakes. I drive it all summer in Alberta and love that car

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